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Young Adults On A Mission The Next Generation by Dani Jaime

Updated: Apr 9

 


The Story


New year, new goals. That seems to be the common theme every New Year’s Eve.

Christmas has come and gone, and after a hopeful season of waiting, people are eager to

welcome the new year. After all, every January 1st feels like a new beginning, a new chance

to make our goals and aspirations come true. Ours, mine, me. But how often do we say to

ourselves: “This year, I’m going to help OTHERS reach THEIR goals.”? It is true, the average

person doesn’t think about serving others as their goal for the new year, and even fewer

think about traveling abroad to a faraway country for that exact purpose. But that is what I

did, and I didn’t do it alone.


On January 3rd, I had the privilege of joining 3 other young adults as well as a team

of seasoned missionaries, on a mission trip to Honduras. Now, I am no stranger to mission

work, but every time you step through those airport gates, it really does feel like you’re in

for a new and unexpected experience. However, as with any occasion serving the Lord, this

leap into the unknown is never without his blessing. After all, it is with prayerful dedication

that my partner in missions, Patricia Perea, and I have been working on preparing this very

trip. After spending so much time carefully planning this trip for the sake of others, you

would expect God to be on your side. Still, you can’t help but feel nervous. So, it is with

obedience to The Lord that I embarked on this journey, feeling prepared, but ready for the

unexpected.


I arrived at the airport and was immediately met with smiles from my teammates

who were already there, among them Floyd Powers, a UTSA doctoral student. I had worked

with him during the fall semester as he and other UTSA students delivered ESL classes to

Honduran students sponsored by Manos de Dios, our ministry. He had been selected as

the recipient of one of our travel awards. Floyd was happy to see me but shared his

feelings of nervousness. I reminded him that we were going to do great things and that it

would be a good experience. After flying out of San Antonio, we arrived in Houston for our

next flight. There, we met with our other teammates, among them Avery Delleney, another

travel award recipient. I quickly connected with her, and she seemed very calm and

collected. After all, Avery was no stranger to ministry work. She had just spent a year

interning for the UCM, the United Campus Ministry at Texas State.


Little by little the team felt more and more complete. We were only missing three other people, among them a close friend of mine by the name of Colin Besch. Colin was a returning missionary. He and I had been on this trip once before, and we became good friends because of it. He was running late though, and I was wondering if he would miss his flight. I guess it didn’t take long for the unexpected “hiccups” of any mission trip to start.


The time to board came and still, Colin and his grandparents were nowhere in sight.

It wasn’t until the rest of the team, and I were seated on the plane, ready to go, when they

finally arrived. I quickly exchanged some banter and laughs with Colin as he rushed to his

seat. Now that we were all together, I finally felt at peace.


We arrived in Comayagua and went through the usual airport business. Customs, baggage, regathering, and stretching our legs. Finally, we made it to the front of the airport and were received with the most peaceful and warmest of embraces. Our Honduran partners (and friends!) were there to greet us with love. We were finally ready to get the job done.


Thus began an amazing adventure full of God’s guidance, grace, and generosity. It

was a roller coaster experience where we knew the twists and turns, but still had to brace

ourselves for those moments. It also wasn’t without its highs and lows. Yet, God was there

at every moment. He was there in our sunny and warm morning reflections. He was there

on those tired nights, where we all debriefed around pizza. He was also there on those

busy days full of back-to-back activities. Most importantly, God was there in the face of

every person we met and served. From the small and rambunctious child at vacation bible

school, to the older, weary person in need of glasses during our eyesight clinic. Every

interaction was a moment where we had a chance to minister to others… and them to us!

We had to make every moment count. It was during one of these moments, where Patricia

and I had our eye-opening moment of the trip.


During our Manos de Dios academic scholarship interviews, we interviewed a family

whose very presence was nothing short of a miracle. When we asked the mother about

how she had heard of Manos de Dios, she mentioned that her sister, one of our graduated

scholarship students, encouraged her to take a chance. She was moved to tears when she

explained that the scholarship that had benefited her sister had actually sparked a chain

reaction in the family. This blessing had cascaded onto the rest of the family, allowing them

financial freedom that opened doors for them. Now that her daughter was of age, she

wanted her to participate in this blessing as well. This is when we realized that things

happen in ways that we couldn’t really anticipate. Ways that only God can foresee. When

we thought we had a clear vision of something, God had an even grander plan. He could

multiply the blessing and extend it to others and into the future. This reverberation is

something we could never expect. As it turns out, when we bless one person, even

someone as small as a child, it has lasting impacts on their community as well.


I believe this is how the God we serve works. He takes the small things and multiplies them in ways that benefit the masses. This is the work we do. Yes, we have our own plans and ideas, but the truth is that when we surrender our own will to God’s, we become conduits for God’s plans. We become his hands on this earth. Hands that can heal, hands that can help, hands that can come together in hope.


With that in mind, I continued the rest of the week. Knowing that whatever action,

gesture, and conversation I had, had the potential to grow into something beyond myself.

I’m certain that our Honduran partners hosting us knew this well, as they were the

recipients of so many blessings that they have been good stewards of. It is no secret that

when serving here, you end up feeling served. We were surrounded by faithful servants of

God, with many talents. The Manos de Dios church has an amazing praise and worship

band, excellent Sunday school teachers, and an incredible priest. All these wonderful things

and more have been the result of people faithfully answering God’s call to missions over 20

years ago. What started as a small seed planted in faith, has been carefully cultivated by

faithful hands into a vibrant evergreen community that stands as a pillar and refuge for the

people of Danlí. Manos de Dios may be the name of our ministry, but the mission team is

only one hand in this faithful body of Christ. The other hand are the wonderful people of

Honduras who are empowered to serve others to pass on the blessing. This is their

everyday life, whether they are students, families, or ministry workers. This is how they

chose to welcome their new year, by serving us.


Returning home after such an amazing trip is never easy, but it prepares me for the

weeks and months to come, until the next time. It helps me understand that my true goal

for the new year, and every year, is to serve others in a way that can extend the blessings of

God and create a faithful and loving community.


 

Thoughts from the Young Adults On A Mission


Dani, 27, UTSA Graduate with a degree in Communication


“I have learned that we are blessed in order to bless others, even if we don’t know it. But having learned this, it is my responsibility to be a blessing to everyone I know. In this way, I can build bridges between people and create communities that fulfill the law of Christ.”


“I am so happy to discover the surprises God has in store for me. I’ve learned that He hasn’t

forgotten about me and that He still wants me to participate in the Christian life. The opportunity to travel to Honduras was something that I never expected and now, I wait for every chance I can to go back.”


One word to describe this trip: “Love


Colin, 20, University of Houston student studying Hotel Management & Business


“What I learned from this trip was that we’re all better working together than we are by

ourselves.”


“I can share the blessing by continuing to spread love and positivity to the people that I see on a day-to-day basis.”


One word to describe this trip: “Heartwarming”


Avery, 20, Texas State University Graduate with a degree in Psychology


“This trip I learned how to listen. Going to a country to serve a group of people where you don’t share a language can be seen as a roadblock or an opportunity. For me this trip was an

opportunity to learn how to slow down and listen when my first instinct is to lead. I’m very thankful for this opportunity.”


“One of my major takeaways from this trip is how people treat strangers in Honduras versus the United States. I was welcomed with immediate love from people I had never met and that love is something I want to bring into my life and my community."


One word to describe this trip: “Life-changing”


Floyd, 30, UTSA Doctoral Student studying Culture, Language & Literacy


“I learned a lot. It was fascinating seeing some of the aspects of Honduran culture along with

the community’s hospitality.”


“I think the main way I can extend the blessing is to go back next year. It was a wonderful

journey, and I would love to see the people again.”


One word to describe this trip: “Rewarding”


 
 




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